VIEW: Ecosistema Urbano, Designing Atmospheres for Social Interaction

Designing Atmospheres for Social Interaction

Belinda Tato
Founder, Ecosistema Urbano
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Thursday, June 3, 2021

View the seminar by CLICKING HERE

Ecosistema Urbano is a Madrid-based office of architects, designers and professionals specializing in urban innovation projects at the intersection of architecture, landscape design, engineering, and sociology. They seek to design environments, spaces, dynamics and tools in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities, and their relationship with the environment. In recent years, their research has developed around the design of public spaces focusing especially on the improvement of bioclimatic conditions in contexts and climates as diverse as Norway and Bahrain.

As a part of their methodology, Ecosistema Urbano has been developing diverse participatory techniques to involve citizens in the creative and transformative processes of urban environments, experimenting with social software, communication platforms, and new technologies to achieve the creation of more democratic and equitable urban environments. In this seminar, founder Belinda Tato presents their design principles through a series of projects they have worked on in diverse urban contexts around the world, including the United States, Denmark, Spain, China, Russia, Paraguay, and Ecuador.

Anand - your last question about the temporality of the design process is a significant one - understudied and underappreciated, & probably a core issue in mismatches and failings in the community design process. Would love to discuss this further.

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@lucphinney I’d love to think and talk more on this. It might be nice to have a little workshop / discussion, for example, thinking between the different temporalities of social design and qualitative social research methods like ethnography. It’s a real practical challenge and I’d love to better understand how to engage it creatively.

Count me in!
One of the hardest things for design students to adjust to after schooling is the relentless pace of professional practice. I’ve often thought it’s a flaw in customary design pedagogy; but also perhaps in the conventions of practice. A failure to think deeply about the temporality of practice as it engages with the social life of a site.
A turning point for me in my professional career was the chance to design a research-based ‘natural’ playground as part of a university School of Ed… To be in an environment in which the history of the site - natural and cultural - and the future of the site’s users and occupants - were deeply considered, and designedly interrelated - I remember thinking - This. Is how it’s supposed to be.

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I agree, so many interesting comments in the discussion. I think we were only scratching the surface with this inspiring talk.

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I would really like us to explore the Malaga Campus in a workshop/discussion — this is an incredible project. Specifically in the context of COVID-19, we must seize the opportunity to continue the conversation of how we use public spaces for education. Moreover, civic education for inclusive sustainable development.

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Sorry I missed the discussion…!

I have been ruminating on my relationship to time. Primarily in the context of becoming… or the psychology that underlies a need to broadcast desired outcomes or perceived shortcomings or inadequacies experienced in the present into a remote future.

J. krishnamurti and Dr David Bohm have a philosophical discussion that is transcribed in “The ending of time.”

It essentially starts at untangling the paradox of time from the human experience. Kind of goes around in anthropogenic circles: but in my mind… it would have been a fascinating conversation to be a fly on the wall around when they were having it…

As a woefully inconsistent practitioner of mindfulness via Buddhism (I studied at Naropa University for my Undergrad …). Our conception and attachment to a disparate temporality … maybe - in essence - even a literal alternative reality eschews our cultivation of that which we desire to manifest in the present —-> to a theoretical future. This future (as well as the conception of past … and present to some degree) holds our aspirations and good intentions. It may not even reflect who we are individually and collectively…

What is it that we feel inhibits us from attaining these desires and virtues in a more proximal vector across space and time?

I always use it as an excuse, personally, from allowing myself to do something… unlearned, unskilled, unfit, financially and socially unstable, or unsuitable for X, Y, Z…

What if time is actually a psychological barrier or that forces us to fall short of potential?

If so, what is the existential dilemma or stigma in the face of fear of failure?

DT/HCD/Rapid prototyping, etc… all essentially if not parenthetically dictate that: failure is a feature and a benefit. And is actually crucial feedback in a design practice. If there is no failure: there is no movement.

Just a thought!

You are all appreciated!

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